There are social networks for friends, social networks for work, even social networks for relationships. FamilyLeaf wants to make a social network for the family.
“You couldn’t design a product more viral than a tool for families,” said FamilyLeaf co-founder Ajay Mehta at today’s Y Combinator Demo Day. “You don’t ignore family, so it’s spreading like a weed.”
Nineteen year-old co-founders Mehta and Wesley Zhao have known each other since the fourth grade. The two find it embarrassing to add parents, aunts, and uncles on Facebook, but know it’s inefficient to keep an ever-changing paper address book. They showed a picture of the classic printed excel spreadsheet of family birthdays, phone numbers, and email addresses that many of us taped to our refrigerators growing up. FamilyLeaf is intended to replace that sheet, and instead provide a digital way for staying in touch.
Just like any social network, you can post pictures from trips, be alerted to a birthday, and see when family members post about personal achievements.
“There are only a few extremely important things in life: work, friends, and family,” said Mehta. “LinkedIn and Facebook have done an amazing job capitalizing on their unique social graphs, but the most important one is family.”
Thus far, 70 percent of the company’s alpha users are returning to the service. There are a number of competitors to the social network, however. Chattertree, Famster, and others all allow people to gather with family on the web. FamilyLeaf remains confident in its vision and is hoping to take on more funding.
To potential investors Mehta says this: “We’re just like the biggest social networks you already know of, that maybe you wish you invested in when they were at our stage.”